The region was split over the possibility of nuclear power ever setting up shop in Gympie, as was suggested by an independent lobby group last week.
The region was split over the possibility of nuclear power ever setting up shop in Gympie, as was suggested by an independent lobby group last week. ERIK S. LESSER

Gympie has say on nuclear power pitch

GENERATING power by splitting atoms at Woolooga has itself divided debate, with social media approaching fission after a lobby group flagged Gympie as an ideal home for nuclear power.

The region has been identified by independent lobby group Australian Nuclear Association as a "region of interest” for the controversial power source to call home in a presentation about tackling climate change last week.

ANA vice president Rob Parker said the region's stable workforce, infrastructure and geography were key factors in the choice.

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However the question of the social license needed to build such a plant - should an Australia-wide ban on nuclear power ever be lifted - caused a reaction on Facebook.

"Gympie residents will never allow this to happen,” was what Lyn Morrison said.

Map of prospective homes for nuclear power plants in Queensland, including Woolooga.
Map of prospective homes for nuclear power plants in Queensland, including Woolooga. Australia Nuclear Association

She was backed by Hayden Swan ("No no and no, maybe candles and rugs...”), Bec Shailer-Kross ("No no no no, did I happen to say f--- no”), Jess Davis ("No nuclear power”), Lyn Hoffman ("No! Stick it in Canberra!”) and Daniel Baines ("And I thought I'd have to save up to visit Chernobyl in the future. All good things come to those who wait”).

Tyron O'Pray said the world needed to keep its focus on other sources of energy. "We should focus more on building renewable energy,” he said.

Not everybody treated the idea as radioactive though.

Samantha Forsyth said she grew up with ANSTO (the nuclear research reactor at Lucas Heights) visible from her front veranda.

"Not only did it employ a lot of locals (some family) it was entirely safe,” she said. "People need to actually do research - real research - before condemning stuff they don't even understand.”

And Ms Forsyth was not the only reader to share this position.

24/07/2007 NEWS: Exterior view of the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor cage in Sydney.
24/07/2007 NEWS: Exterior view of the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor cage in Sydney. SUPPLIED

"Properly managed they are safe these days and the Three Mile Islands and Chernobyls are a thing of the past,” Katie McGregor said.

Another reader, who goes only by Andrew, said these details should not be ignored.

"There are 450 active nuclear power plants and 60 under construction worldwide. There have been three large scale nuclear plant meltdowns, and 11 smaller scale nuclear plant meltdowns. And before Fukushima in 2011 (which was caused by a natural disaster), the last one before that was Chernobyl in 1986. One meltdown in 33 years. Nuclear energy is one of the cleanest forms of energy and should be seriously considered.”

And Kathy Colin Williams hit perhaps the most pertinent point squarely on the head.

"Considering that at present there is no possible way they can even think about it then I think it is just a bit of a waste of time to think about it,” she said.